If you’re thinking of installing a new, or replacing an old, storm shelter then you’ll find many a great selection of metal storm shelters to consider. A big advantage of installing a metal storm shelter is that it doesn’t cause a lot of disruption in your home when it’s being constructed and can, typically, be put together in a single day. There are basically two types of metal storm shelters: below ground and above ground ones.
Underground Metal Shelters
Underground metal storm shelters provide the best protection from flying debris in high winds. Fitting a metal storm shelter would be ideal if you already have a cellar, or even better an old storm cellar. If you don’t already have a cellar, then having to excavate one will considerably add to the cost of installing a metal storm shelter.
Also, you need to bear in mind that not everywhere is suitable for excavating cellars. The geology underlying your property will be a significant factor here; for example the harder any underlying rock is the more expensive the excavation will be – whilst a high local water table could render excavating a cellar a complete non-starter or at least be prohibitively expensive. Access to an underground metal storm shelter can be via a staircase inside your home or outside of it.
An above ground metal storm shelter could be installed outside and adjacent to your property, or it could be installed inside a room in your residence on the ground floor. These internal metal storm shelters could also, with some modifications, be used as a fortified panic room.
Metal storm shelters can come in all shapes and sizes and you can, of course, order one to be custom-built to any size you specify. However, normally a metal storm shelter would be something like a 7 foot cube. Steel and aluminum are the favored metals to work with; ¼ inch steel in 8 inch panels bolted and/or welded onto a steel frame being one of the most popular options.
When choosing a steel storm shelter make sure its components conform to the specifications of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This means a shelter constructed from those materials will have been rigorously tested against peak wind speeds, flying debris and will have an approved ventilation system.
Underground shelters have to meet some extra criteria, of which the following should be checked for: that as an underground metal storm shelter it is water tight – but wouldn’t start to float if the ground became saturated and it must also have a location finder transmitter fitted. The location finder could be vital if there was total devastation above ground and the access to you shelter became blocked.
Finally, don’t forget that you should also have in any storm shelter flashlightsand spare batteries, a first aid kit, a good supply of drinking water, a fire extinguisher and a radio tuned in to the official weather stations.
An experienced and confident DIY home enthusiast can install a metal storm shelter themselves. Most metal storm shelter manufacturers will allow you to purchase a metal storm shelter kit that you can assemble yourself, but many of them also include an installation fee in the price of their product anyway. You will also need to ensure the base onto which the storm shelter will be attached meets the minimum standards required. The actual anchorage system for the shelter should be included in the kit, but the base on which it sits should be a 4 inch thick concrete slab.